For­mer Unaoil man­ager Akle sen­tenced to five years over bribes for Iraq con­tract

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business -

◆ For­mer oil ex­ec­u­tive Ziad Akle has been sen­tenced to five years in prison for pay­ing more than $500,000 (£393,000) in bribes to se­cure a $55m con­tract in Iraq, writes Ed Clowes.

The sen­tenc­ing at South­wark crown court fol­lows an ex­ten­sive three-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Unaoil, where Akle was a man­ager, and is a boon for the Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice af­ter a string of high-pro­file fail­ures.

Fol­low­ing the oust­ing of Sad­dam Hus­sein, Akle and oth­ers bribed pub­lic of­fi­cials at the South Oil Com­pany in Iraq to se­cure con­tracts for Unaoil and its clients, a state­ment from the SFO said.

In a state­ment, Judge Martin Bed­doe said: “The of­fences were com­mit­ted across bor­ders at a time of se­ri­ous need for the gov­ern­ment of Iraq to re­build af­ter years of sanc­tions and the dev­as­ta­tion of war. They were ut­terly ex­ploita­tive at a time when the eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Iraq was ex­tremely frag­ile.”

Akle’s lawyer said he would ap­peal against his con­vic­tion be­cause of con­cerns sur­round­ing the SFO’s con­duct dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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